Controlling Who Gets to Use Your Email Address
Pop Quiz: You’ll easily ace this one.
. What modern innovation do you use the most?
. What technology do you engage in at the beginning of the day, at day’s end and several times throughout the day?
If you answered “email” for either or both of those questions, you go to the head of the class.
Managing Email Challenges Most of Us
If our email is as central to our lifestyle as it is, why do we often struggle with it? The quantity and quality of what we receive in our inbox is certainly not enviable. Our inboxes is loaded with noxious advertisements and commercial offerings we’ll never pursue. That’s because we tend to hold on to old emails in case we want to contact the senders. Suppose we have a change of heart or discover a need for further information. We tend to use our inbox folder as a treasure chest of important memories. As the Buddhist tradition reminds us, we are a grasping, striving lot.
That’s why the “zero inbox” methodologies are wildly popular. (Take five seconds in the midst of reading this article and look at the number of emails in your inbox.) See Inbox Zero: Consider How to Stop Checking Email and Start Finishing It by Ian Charnas.
Our Contact Information Is a Public Commodity
Where do all of our emails originate? They come to us because we are both interested in others and we are interesting people ourselves. The meaning of our lives revolves around our relationships. We seek out information on people and things. We engage in conversations about the people the businesses which provide us merchandise. We share our emails in order to establish and maintain contact with others.
But greed is also omnipresent in this culture. People sell our contact information throughout the internet to make money. Our personal data has made Mark Zuckerberg a billionaire. No matter where we go and with whom we engage, our email address is how people will connect with us. That’s why we need to start using temporary email accounts.
Controlling Our Email with Temporary Email Aliases
Sometimes we need to be able to eliminate some senders who send us unwanted material. Frankly, if we no longer want to hear from them, we shouldn’t be plagued by their relentless marketing. Hide your permanent email from pesky spammers. Disposable email addresses enable you to easily delete the alias. When you do, you disappear forever from the loathsome little worlds of undesirable vendors.
For some years, I used a service called Spamex. They provide a domain name and you can create a temporary email address out of it with your choice of names in front of it. I used Cleaners@spamex.com as my temporary email address that I gave to a new dry cleaners. If they keep sending me unwanted advertising, I could just deactivate that email account.
Although I paid a little extra to have Spamex use a domain name I already controlled, I would still have to log on to the Spamex servers and spend a certain amount of focused time on turning on and off unwanted temporary email addresses. Their DOS-like website also made for cumbersome management of their temporary emails.
In recent months, there have been a host of new temporary email services. Most of these software solutions offer a free or an inexpensive email account that will atomically disappear after a prescribed time. Some of them are: Mailinator.com, Guerrillamail.com, ThrowAwayMail.com, 10minutemail.com, Moakt.com, Spamgourmet.com, E4ward.com , GishPuppy.com, Jetable.org.
But automatically expiring email accounts are only for when we can immediately determine a vendor is not someone with whom we want to engage? How do you know a vendor will eventually inundate you with spam? Suppose they turn out to be a great vendor with whom we want to do business longer than the temporary life of that temporary email?
It takes time for a company’s character to show integrity. We won’t know if they are spammers until we start to receive daily or weekly communications. We want to continue to communicate with many people with whom we share our email. We don’t want all our emails to automatically go away.
And how do we know if someone has sold our email to one or more companies who want to deluge us with their sales pitches? Can we ever tell who is selling our emails? And is there relief from the arduous work of reading the fine print or the often non-functioning “unsubscribe” links hidden at the bottom of their advertising?
We really don’t want to keep generating new emails. Suppose we want to keep using an email address as a means of communicating with a trustworthy vendor?
The intrusion and aggression on the internet has become so troubling that CEOs of Facebook and others have been called before congress and confronted. People are more than weary of the data breaches and their online accounts being compromised. That’s why we are resorting to using disposable telephone numbers (burner phone numbers) and now disposable email addresses. Albine.com makes Blur and other masking services which provide masked email and credit card accounts, password management and “burner” phone numbers. But you might not need all those services if you are just trying to restrict your email.
Your Answer Here Is AnonAddy.com.
The best service I’ve found for generating and maintaining disposable email accounts is AnonAddy.com. (Think Anonymous + Adding as many anonymous email addresses as you’d like.) You can also create disposable aliases using competitive solutions by 33Mail.com and ManyMe.
I’ll describe the ease and convenience of this low cost service by using realistic examples. With any technology, it is always more helpful use human scenarios to illustrate a service. Perhaps in hearing these scenarios, you may come to see your email privacy needs could be met by AnonAddy.com.
I’ll make up some names and a few scenarios to help you get a more realistic sense of how AnonAddy.com. might help you. (By the way, all names, companies and URLs in this article’s illustration are fictitious.)
For this preview, we imagine June Cleaver who lives on Paramont Street. June Cleaver owns and manages a consulting technology company called “Insight.” June, and her husband Ward, live in West LA with their two children Wally and Beave. Ward owns and operates a yoga studio.
June heard about AnonAddy.com and wanted the ability to generate disposable email accounts. She knows that there are a lot of aggressive people connected through the internet and like everyone else, she has had it with her email inbox stuffed with unwanted email.
June starts her free AnonAddy.com account, directing her proxy account to send mail it receives, by way of her aliases, to her usual Cleaver@gmail.com email account. No one communicating with her, through her temporary email accounts, knows June’s real email address. Anything they send quietly goes to her usual Cleaver@gmail.com address.
When June set up her AnonAddy.com account, she made up her free domain name to be jcleaver.anonaddy.com as her default email domain name. From then on, she just adds an identifier of the company before the @ sign so she knows the vendor associated with it. The identifier reminds her the name of the company for whom she created the temporary account. She can create as many disposable email accounts as we wishes. She just ads a name before @jcleaver.anonaddy.com when she invents a disposable email account.
No Need to Be At Your Computer To Use AnonAddy.com
Lets say June is eating lunch with friends at Power Pizza and the server says to her, “June, you come here every week. Why don’t we put your email on our mailing list so you can get valuable coupons?”
June agrees and makes up an email address on the spot. She says, “make my email address Pizza@jcleaver.anonaddy.com.” Minutes later, June looks at her smartphone and sees she has received a confirmation email, asking her to validate her email for the pizza newsletter. She clicks on the confirm link and the Power Pizza gets a confirming email from June’s firstname.lastname@example.org. From now on, anytime June receives an email that that is sent to her email@example.com email address, she knows it came from the pizza parlor.
For any other vendor, June can create a disposable email address using her same domain name of jcleaver.anonaddy.com. June creates the following additional disposable emails:
· Joes@jcleaver.33mail.com (for Honest Joes Bar-B-Q)
June can create as many disposable emails as she wants. For any other new vendor, she can just make up another disposable email account using a word or words to identify them. All of the email she receives through her customized disposable emails are secretly delivered directly into her original email (Cleaver@gmail.com) account without the sender ever knowing her real email address.
June now has the convenience of getting every new vendor’s message in her personal email account (in her case, her Gmail) but she has the added convenience of each received email coming with a link to stop that email account if the sender proves to be obnoxious.
Easy Deletion of Temporary Emails
Here is how it works. Let’s say June is on a Snooker.com website and orders a product. To set up a disposable email account with them, she tells the company that her contact email is Snooker@jcleaver.anonaddy.com. The people at the Snooker company will never know June’s real Gmail account. All they see is this (disposable) address she has given. If they send a test or confirmation email to verify the address, June gets it and can respond accordingly without revealing her read email address.
Every email June receives from Snooker goes directly to her usual email address at Cleaver@gmail.com. When she opens it, at the top of the email there is a box that says:
In time, if June sees that Snooker is sending way too much email, all she has to do is click on the “click here” link at the end of the text in the box to disable that temporary account. So the anonaddy.com account can be permanent and used as long as she wants or easily disabled if the sender proves to be a bother.
How To Tell If a Vendor Sold or Shared Your Email Address? Suppose Joe’s Discount Carpets sends June advertising to her firstname.lastname@example.org account. If they did, June would know that the pizza parlor owner probably shared this temporary email account with the Carpet company. If you see abuse, one click disables the account and you won’t hear from them again. As far as the spamming company is concerned, you have dropped off the face of the earth.
This illustrates use of a free account at anonaddy.com. You can see how important it is to create your initial free domain name at anonaddy.com. Obviously you want to create a domain name that could be considered a little more professional and typical of an email address. For instance, June could have made her domain name FabulousBrilliantJune.anonaddy.com but her choice for jcleaver.anonaddy.com seems a little like a real email address. You only get one chance to name for your free anonaddy domain so carefully craft your first and only free domain name.
Using a Custom Domain Name Makes It Even Better
June’s company rents the domain name insight.com. June additionally rents the domain name insight.org more for her personal use.
With anonaddy.com (and another service 33mail.com) June can pay a reasonable $12 a year and use her insight.org account for her temporary emails through 33mail.com. June creates more disposable email accounts:
· Freddys@insight.org (for Freddie’s Mattress Palace)
Anonaddy provides a link to a domain registrar if you don’t normally want to go through Network Solutions or GoDaddy. For $15 a year, you can use one domain name in addition to your free AnonAddy.com domain. ManyMe and 33Mail also offer similar features. But since you can create as many disposable email accounts as you wish, it is difficult to imagine how you would need any more than one customized domain name.
In summary, you can set up custom disposable email accounts for vendors whom you don’t yet know. This is a convenient way to hide your regular email account from people you do not yet know. You can monitor your emails and easily eliminate those who abuse their email communication. I recommend using their free service and experiment with AnonAddy.com. Play with it and see how it lets you better control who has use of your email. Once you experience the control you get over your email, consider using a domain name of your choice. Companies like AnonAddy, 33Mail.com, and ManyMe are why we know that tech is getting better and better every year.